Losing your job is always scary, but during a recession, it can be terrifying. Here are a number of government programs and non-profits that can help you make ends meet until something new comes along.
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
Each state offers unemployment insurance, which typically pays you cash for each week you spend unemployed. To qualify, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be unemployed through no fault of your own
- Have worked for a period of up to 18 months
- Have earned a certain wage (determined by state)
- Be actively job hunting while you collect benefits
You may also need to meet certain state requirements. For more information on which benefits your state offers and how to qualify, visit the Career One Stop Service Locator: a resource run by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
In the past, this program was known as Food Stamps. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s available to low income households who meet certain criteria. While you don’t have to be on welfare to qualify, your eligibility depends on the gross monthly income, net income, and assets of your household, plus the number of people who live there.
You can check your eligibility and find out how to apply by visiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP Eligibility page.
Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
TANF is funded by the federal government, but you’ll need to apply through your state’s individual program to receive the benefits—which include assistance with housing, bills, and food.
To contact your state’s TANF program, visit the Office of Family Assistance’s Help for Families page, overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The federal government offers a number of educational and training programs to help those looking for work, and most are either free or very affordable. These include:
- The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
- Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)
- The Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response program
You can view a list of these programs here.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program to help unemployed veterans seeking jobs.
If you’re an unemployed U.S. veteran, you can find more information on the VA’s careers and employment page.
Feeding America Food Banks
Feeding America operates more than 200 food banks across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with locations in every state. These food banks partner with local soup kitchens, food pantries, and meal programs to provide free food for those who need it.
Just enter your zip code here to find your nearest food bank.
The Salvation Army operates a number of food pantries throughout the U.S., and offers employment and job training assistance at a local level.
You can find your local center on their website.